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Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of Commerce (August 29, 2019)

Gao Feng: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to the regular press conference of MOFCOM. I have no announcement to make today and am happy to take your questions. The floor is open for questions.

Xinhua News Agency: US President Donald Trump said China wants a deal and address differences through calm negotiations, which he very much welcomed. What鈥檚 MOFCOM鈥檚 comment?

Gao Feng: China has made it clear that we firmly oppose escalating trade war and stand ready to address issues through calm negotiations and cooperation. Trade war is bad not only for China and the US but also the world.

We鈥檝e noted such announcements by the US. We welcome the US to work together with China with sincerity and concrete actions to find solutions on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect. Thank you.

CNBC: Last weekend Trump said Chinese officials called US trade officials saying China wants to make a deal. Can you confirm it? The EU Chamber of Commerce released a report on Wednesday about China鈥檚 effort to build a business social credit system. An analyst said on the release conference that the system is related to MOFCOM鈥檚 鈥渦nreliable entity list鈥 Is that correct? Will foreign enterprises be added to the unreliable entity list through the system? What impact do you think will the credit system have on FIEs in China?

Gao Feng: For your first question, the two economic teams have indeed been engaged in effective communication, but I have no more detailed information for you.

There is no shortage of hearsay. On the trade front, we will clarify the truth to tell everyone what really happens.

With respect to your second question, we鈥檝e noted relevant report and some westerners鈥concern of China weaponizing business social credit system to undermine multinationals.

I don鈥檛 know what you refer to with the credit system you just mentioned. We鈥檇 like to check it if you can provide more accurate information. But in my view, it is a different system from the 鈥渦nreliable entity list鈥

I want to emphasize that the Chinese government aims to foster a better-regulated, fairer, more transparent and predictable rules-based business environment through building the business social credit system. We will take concrete measures to protect businesses鈥trade secrets and intellectual property, perform our duties in accordance with laws and regulations, and treat all market entities as equals. We will not discriminate against FIEs, let alone disadvantage them. Businesses that abide by law should have no worries at all. Thank you.

Phoenix Satellite TV: Will China consider taking countermeasures in response to the US raising tariffs from the additional ones on USD 550 billion worth of Chinese exports to the US?

Gao Feng: China has sufficient countermeasures. However, we think what should be discussed under current circumstances is the elimination of the further additional tariffs to be imposed on USD 550 billion of Chinese goods to prevent further escalation of trade war. China is making solemn representation to the US. As China stresses again and again, trade war brings no good to China or the US, or the world at large. It may even bring disasters to the world.

Economic Daily: Will the escalating trade war deal a heavy blow to China鈥檚 economy?

Gao Feng: China鈥檚 economy is transforming from a high-speed growth to high quality growth with old growth drivers increasingly replaced with new ones. With a vibrant micro-foundation, broad space for maneuver with great resilience, and ample macro-policy tools in place, we have full confidence and the capabilities to ensure sound momentum of economic fundamentals. Thank you.

Bloomberg News: President Trump talked about phone calls between both trade teams, can you give us more details including the caller and the time? In addition, can you brief us on the arrangements for the September consultation with the US?

Gao Feng: As for the phone calls, I already responded to that question. Both sides are discussing about the September trade talks. We will release the news once more information is available. The most important thing at the moment is to create necessary conditions for both sides to continue negotiations. Thank you.

China Daily: Mr Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, said China and the US would have phone calls this week during an interview by a foreign media. Is that true? If so, what would be touched on? During the interview, Mr Kudlow said he looked forward to meeting the Chinese trade teams in September in the US. What are the specific plans for the next round of negotiations?

Gao Feng: Like I just said, both trade teams have maintained effective communication and are discussing about the September trade talks in the US. The most important thing at the moment is to create necessary conditions for both sides to continue negotiations. We took note of Mr. Kudlow鈥檚 stance. The Chinese side believes that it takes joint efforts to create conditions and push for progress in the negotiations. Thank you.

Global Times: The US president Trump demanded US companies move their manufacturing operations out of China to the US or other regions. How would MOFCOM respond to that?

Gao Feng: China and the US are each other鈥檚 significant trading partner and source of investment with deeply intertwined interests. Both of us have a stake in each other. The economic ties between China and US are not to be willfully cut by anyone. If someone forces the 鈥渄ecoupling鈥of the two economies, both sides would suffer, not only the interests of the American firms and people would be severely damaged, the security of global industrial and supply chains would be threatened as well, hurting international trade and global economy. We have seen that people from all walks of life in the US have voiced their objection for such remarks. The essence of Sino-US trade is win-win, not as rivalries in a zero-sum game, but as mutually beneficial partners. Enterprises from all over the world, including the US are welcome to invest and operate in China and we will keep fostering a sound business environment. Thank you.

South China Morning Post: I have three questions. First, it is about trade negotiations. It is been two weeks after August 13, did vice premier Liu He hold a second phone talk with Lighthizer and Mnuchin as scheduled? If so, what contents were covered? Second, China used to see soybeans as the 鈥済reatest common divisor鈥between China and the US, while last Friday China declared to impose additional tariffs on American goods including soybeans. Would soybean and other agricultural produce continue to serve as major tools for China to counterattack the US? Are you concerned about the potential blow to China鈥檚 soybean industry? Third, last Friday, China declared that it will resume imposing additional tariffs on American-made vehicles and auto parts. European car makers like Mercedes-Benz that manufacture in the US could be affected. Would China consider to offer tariff exemptions for European car makers including German ones that manufacture in the US錛

Gao Feng: With respects to the phone calls, I already responded, and no more information is to be added.

For the second question, last Friday, China declared that it will resume imposing additional tariffs on certain American-made products, which are countermeasures that we had to take. We hope the US could remove the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war.

For your third question on tariff exemption, it shall be under uniform planning management of the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council. We will release the news once more information is available. Thank you.

Reuters: First of all, regarding the phone calls, we have been asking China鈥檚 Foreign Ministry about it over the past couple of days, and a Foreign Ministry representative said he was unaware of any such phone conversations. We heard various versions about the phone calls. Trump said China called the US, can you verify that? Does the MOFCOM have any knowledge of the phone calls? Last week, Trump declared to heap an additional 5% duty on Chinese goods. Would China take countermeasures? If so, what specific measures are to be taken?

Gao Feng: As for the phone calls, I already responded to that question, and no more information is to be added.
I also responded to similar questions regarding the countermeasures raised by other reporters. Thank you.

China Business Daily: The pork price has been rather high recently. How do you view its trend as the peak season for pork consumption is approaching? What measures will MOFCOM take to ensure market supply?

Gao Feng: The overall pork supply on the domestic market is adequate. MOFCOM will closely follow the market dynamics and work with related authorities to release froze pork, beef and mutton from the central reserve at a proper time in order to increase the overall supply of meat. We will also guide the producers and buyers in maintain stable cooperation, match the supply and demand across regions, and provide smooth channels for meat supply. We will also encourage increased import of pork based on market principles.

To put simply, we will take multiple measures to ensure stable meat supply on the domestic market. Thank you.

CBN Daily: How is the progress of China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations and RCEP negotiations? Some analysts believe that the trade frictions between Japan and the ROK and the negotiation between Japan and the US, among other complex international factors, may weigh on the progress of the negotiations. How does MOFCOM evaluate the impact? What measures will be taken to push the talks forward?

Gao Feng: As for the two FTA negotiations you mentioned, all participants are making efforts to score more progress.

Regarding RCEP, there鈥檚 a strong political will to conclude the negotiations within this year among all parties. At the Beijing Ministerial meeting held not long ago, parties reaffirmed the commitment to conclude the talks by the end of this year and made important headway in the negotiations. China will continue to play a constructive role and support ASEAN centrality in negotiations, so that the negotiations are brought to an end as scheduled.

Regarding China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations, the three foreign ministers reaffirmed the clear position to accelerate the talks at the 9th China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers鈥Meeting last week. China is ready to work together with Japan and ROK in advancing the FTA negotiations, so that a comprehensive, high-standard, win-win and meaningful FTA is reached at an early date.

China Review News Agency HK: I have two questions. Recently the USDOC received over 130 applications for license to sell to Huawei, but the Trump administration didn鈥檛 issue any license. What鈥檚 your comment? My second question is that how does MOFCOM view the trade frictions between Japan and the ROK since Japan removed the ROK from the 鈥渨hite list鈥 How does MOFCOM evaluate the prospect of China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations?

Gao Feng: Regarding the first question, we have noted the report, which suggests that Chinese and American businesses rely on each other in various areas. The attempt to cripple Chinese companies will only hurt American companies in the end. We hope the US can bear in mind the business interests of American companies and the security of global supply chain and industrial chain, and remove the sanctions on Huawei and other Chinese companies.

Regarding the second question, China, Japan and the ROK are close neighbors and important trading partners for each other. China looks to our neighbors for peace and harmony. Japan and the ROK, with their wisdom, are able to properly settle the problems. In the current international situation, we hope the three countries can jointly address challenges by stepping up trade and commercial cooperation and jointly safeguarding free trade and the multilateral trading system, to the benefit the healthy and steady development of the region and the world economy. This serves the interests of the three countries.

As for the China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations, I have made a response. Thank you.

Bloomberg: Mr. Spokesperson, you just answered the question on the additions tariffs that the US will impose on USD550 billion of Chines goods. You said that China has plenty of tools and countermeasures, but China believes that the more important thing is to discuss how to remove these tariffs. Does that mean China will not take countermeasures against the US? Why would you change the strategy given that China adopted countermeasures to all US tariffs?

Gao Feng: I said it clearly that China has plenty of countermeasures, but under the current circumstances, we believe it鈥檚 more important to discuss how to avoid the imposition of the tariffs on USD 550 billion of goods to prevent the escalation of the trade war. China is making serious representations to the US on this issue. Thank you.

Shenzhen Satellite TV: As the chaos in Hong Kong continues, the trade and economic cooperation between Hong Kong and China鈥檚 mainland as well as the world may suffer setbacks? What is the attitude of MOFCOM?

Gao Feng: Regarding the Hong Kong issue, the spokespersons of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the foreign ministry havemade responses. Thank you.

CNR: Since the US keeps escalating trade frictions with China, does that mean a trade war is inevitable?

Gao Feng: As I said, China is firmly opposed to the escalation of the trade war. Keeping in mind the big picture of China-US relations and the global situation, we are willing to hold consultations with a cool mind to resolve the problems. We hope to meet the US halfway and work toward the proper resolution of the trade issues on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Thank you.

Gao Feng: Do you have any more questions?

If not, this is the end of today鈥檚 conference. Thank you.

(All information published in this website is authentic in Chinese. English is provided for reference only. )

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